Central Bicol State University of Agriculture has been awarded its first-ever four-stars rating by Quacquarelli Symonds (QS), one of the major analytics firms in the global higher education market. This rating reflects the university’s status as an internationally recognized HEI that exemplifies excellence across various categories.
The road to the summit is not always an easy one to navigate in terms of terrain and weather. Excellence is not about being the best, but about striving to be the best in striving to do better. It is never a skill; rather, it is more akin to an attitude. It is ingrained in us. We are who we are as a result of our repeated actions. That is greatness.
Numerous accomplishments were worthwhile once all necessary ingredients were combined in the proper proportions, at the right moment, in their optimal measurements, and expectations; all in their optimal contexts. It’s simply a matter of pressing all the appropriate buttons at the most proper time.
Finally, CBSUA strung these ingredients all together as they worked hard and opened up in order to earn the 4-star rating from Quacquarelli Symonds. Through its various assessment methods, Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) is a renowned international agency that assists educational institutions in realizing their potential.
CBSUA, led by Dr. Alberto N. Naperi, was audited by QS to increase its international reputation and to showcase its outstanding results, program specialization, and strengths in the global arena. Additionally, it will identify areas of the university’s weakness for improvement.
Generally, educational institutions are evaluated against 13 core categories and assigned a star rating corresponding to each category, as well as an overall value between 0 to 5+ stars. The institution was evaluated on eight criteria, including teaching, employability, internationalization, academic development, facilities, program strength, social responsibility, and inclusivity. The QS Taskforce, chaired by Dr. Ana E. Mirana and vice chaired by Dr. Cherry Love B. Montales, was then mobilized to work toward achieving this goal.
The Challenge
CBSUA had been updating, retooling, and reforming the entire system in order to become an all-encompassing, top notch, and globally competitive agricultural research university in Southeast Asia and the world.
Taking this to heart, the university is committed to bringing these objectives to fruition one step at a time. CBSUA accepted the challenge set by Commissioner Aldrin Darilag of the Commission on Higher Education and exposed itself to the scrutiny of the QS standards, tending to the vulnerabilities that required attention.
No wonder President Naperi established a task committee in the early days of January to guide the community toward meeting the requirements of the international audit firm. The task committee began preparations for the QS Stars Rating application in January 2021.
It was a process of identifying omissions and gaps and resolving them in order to complete the picture. By February, the QS Application had been submitted. The contract was signed and the audit process began in a matter of days. The 14-day audit procedure began on February 18th.
It was exhausting after all the arduous meetings and extra-curricular commitments. In fact, Dr. Mirana, the QS’s overall chairperson, and Dr. Montales, the QS’s vice chairperson, conducted an online benchmark with other universities in the Philippines and Asia.
QS provided various instructions to guide the task force in the second month of the year, as everything was finalized prior to the audit’s start. They received orientation on indicators, timeline and targets. However, everyone was eager to stay alert and fulfill their tasks as they prepared all of the documentation and evidence for the QS indicators.
Collection and Submission of Data
March and April are a whirlwind of paperwork and work beyond the call of duty. All documents were gathered by category leaders, co-leaders, and the technical team. This time was primarily spent establishing the university’s website, conducting surveys of alumni and students, and submitting the required documentation via the QS online portal.
Monitoring of critical data were conducted before the documents were uploaded. Category leaders and co-leaders presented their reports during the meetings while QS chair, co-chairs and vice-chair suggests areas for improvement.
Stages I and II of Validation
By the end of May, the QS analyst had verified the documents in preparation for the validation stage. This was the stage at which the analyst examined the evidence and transmitted all clarifications gathered. Additional evidence was received, processed, reviewed, submitted, and monitored via email exchanges during the response period.
The interim report was returned in June and July, and university officials validated the data and scores. The overall chair and vice chair conducted a rigorous and complicated procedure of talks with the analyst.
Then, on July 7, 2021, the CBSUA QS Overall Chair’s online conversation with QS analyst Henna Mansuri was successful as they discussed the interim report’s results.
By this point, the analysts had compiled a summary of the final data, conducted institution assessments, and delivered the final evidence via another round of email exchanges. The task force had finalized everything, and the process came to a conclusion when the task force received and accepted the interim report.
The Final Result
Thus, September 2021 marked the beginning of another chapter in the history of CBSUA and its community. Quacquarelli Symonds awarded the university a 4-Star University Rating. The CBSUA was given the overall and category badges and university development roadmap. Soon the CBSUA QS Star Rating will be published on the QS Stars website.
Additionally, the official announcement was made on September 22nd when the President’s Office released a memo announcing the results of the QS Intelligence Unit analysts’ reviews and computations demonstrating that CBSUA is a world-class institution. Nonetheless, it was all worth the effort, time, sacrifices, and service provided by everyone at CBSUA in order to earn a 4-Star rating from QS.
To honor this significant achievement, the institution hosted the QS Awarding Ceremony via Zoom on September 27, 2021 at 10 a.m. in the University Board Room. This is in recognition and appreciation of CBSUA faculty, students, alumni, staff, and administration for their excellent support and accomplishments.
Indeed, our willingness to wait, as well as our patience and persistence in meeting all conditions, demonstrated the importance we place on our goals. even if we have spent the three quarters waiting for the QS audit to be completed.
The procedure is lengthy and complicated; nevertheless, this does not matter because the longer we wait for something, the more we appreciate it when we finally have it. Anything worth obtaining is unquestionably worth the wait, just like this new milestone for the university.
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